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Riot Turtle on #Lesvos and #Athens: Self-Organized Spaces Where People Can Live in Dignity

After almost 1 month on Lesvos and in Athens I returned to Germany yesterday. The difference between people living in free spaces like the Notara 26 squat in Athens and the people who are forced to live in the Moria refugee camp is unbelievable. Today human rights activist Arash Hampay was forced o leave Lesvos.

Published by Enough is Enough. Written by Riot Turtle.

Read all our reports about #RefugeesGR; here.

Riot Turtle on Lesvos and Athens: Self-Organized Spaces Where People Can Live in Dignity

After almost 1 month on Lesvos and in Athens I returned to Germany yesterday. The difference between people living in free spaces like the Notara 26 squat in Athens and the people who are forced to live in the Moria refugee camp is unbelievable. Today human rights activist Arash Hampay was forced o leave Lesvos.

Today is another day of humiliation and repression on Lesvos. After numerous protests Arash Hampay was forced to leave Lesvos. The UNHCR threw Arash out of his apartment in Lesvos and “offered” him to stay in a hotel in Athens. This how the EU is silencing people who protests against the inhuman treatment of refugees on the Greek islands. Arash is one of the most prominent victims of this kind of repression. Others were deported and/or imprisoned.

The last videos by Arash Hampay from Lesvos:

I spoke many times with Arash and I don’t think the authorities will be able to silence him. He is one of  the most powerful activists I have ever met and has a clear mission: Close Moria! Close the Camps!

During our (me and other activists of the Cars of Hope collective) last days on Lesvos we tried to support as many people as we could. We financed tickets for some of the people who were allowed to travel from Lesvos to Athens after they had won their struggle with 80 days of protests. Their main demand was to get permission to travel to Athens. 

The Attika warehouse needed shoes in the size of 39 – 43 and the warehouse of refugees for refugees also needed a lot of stuff, so bought and delivered many shoes, underwear and diapers. We also bought SIM-cards and uploaded the credit balance of many pre-paid SIM-cards of refugees. We also gave some of our donation money to No Border Kitchen Lesvos, a self-organized project that distributes food boxes so people can cook for themselves, but also cooks with and for refugees.

On Thursday we travelled to Athens. On Friday there was a protest against another round of austerity measures and a new law that will restrict the right to strike. A part of the demo tried to reach parliament and stormed the stairs that lead to the parliament building in Athens. They were stopped by riot cops. There were short minor clashes in front of Greek parliament. After that the demo continued a electricity transform substantion of the Alpha Bank was attacked (video below).

On Saturday we went to Notara 26, one of the refugee squats in Athens. About 100 people live in Notara, among them are many families with children. We arrived in the early afternoon in the squat and were received with a warm welcome. Instead of the divide and rule policies in camps like Moria, people are living in dignity here. People take their own decisions in this self-organized space in the Exarchia district in Athens. People cook together, organize together and live together. Papers are not important. We asked to take some pictures (below) and talked with some of the people who live in the squat. We decided to give our last donation money to this great project.

The next morning I flew back to Germany. It was not easy to leave the many people I have met in the last month. Being priviliged with a Dutch passport which allows me to travel to about anywhere… and my friends are still stuck on Lesvos or other places in Greece (or Serbia, where I met many wonderful people last year). The struggle against camps and for the freedom of movement will continue and will have to be intensified if we want to be successful.

Right now we are supporting people by uploading the credit balance of their prepaid SIM-cards and we finance the travel expenses for refugees who are allowed to travel from Lesvos to Athens. Because when people finally get the right stamp on their papers and can leave the Greek islands, they often have no money to pay for the ferry. We are also preparing a permanent base on Lesvos and a convoy with donations to the refugee squats in Athens and the people on Lesvos. Another thing we are organizing is a speakers tour in Germany about the situation on Europe’s borders and camps like Moria.

I will be back in Greece soon.

Riot Turtle, January 15, 2017.

You can support the work of the Cars of Hope collective with refugees in Greece. You will find their crowdfunding campaign at https://www.youcaring.com/cohlesvos but you can also donate directly on the Cars of Hope PayPal account: 

PayPal account carsofhopewtal@gmail.com

Video about the Notara 26 squat (from October 2015)

Announcement from January 15, 2018, about the situation in Iran from the Notara 26 squat in Athens:

notara15jan

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